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Old Movies You Should Have Seen by Now: Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket

1987

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Principle actors: Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio

Gut-level take

It’s impossible to be ironic, detached, intellectual, and objective in war.

Basic plot

A journalist enlists in the Marines, and we follow his journey from basic training to reporting on the front during the Tet Offensive.

Themes

  • The importance of chain of command
  • Sadism and bullying
  • The desire for peace vs vengeance
  • Price of freedom via militarism

Unexpected Awesomeness

  • Hearing the origin of 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny” samples
  • John Terry (Christian Shepard on Lost) as a journalist lieutenant
  • Seeing the origin of R. Lee Ermey’s drill sergeant persona in pop culture

See also: the Kickstarter project to turn Matthew Modine’s limited edition book Full Metal Jacket Diaries into an iPad app.